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Lets talk about Full Sized Circumaural Can's for mp3 use

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So I've been lurking around on this forum on and off for a few years now enjoying reading about all the different kinds of headphones out there. I've just recently signed up so that I may post on here and become involved in this amazing community of headphone connoisseur's. Like many other people on here, I am beginning my quest for a great pair of intro full sized circumaural can's to be used with my ipod for home or portable use, but mainly at home. At some point or time, I will be looking to also acquire a nice pair of full sized open ear can's, but for now, I need them to be sound isolating. I have a nice pair of IEM Nu-force NE-6's that I purchased for working out after reading a ton of reviews on this forum. I can't believe how amazing they sound for how inexpensive they are compared to other more expensive IEM's. They may not be the best out there, but they are Fantastic for the price and sound like they cost much much more. I also own a pair of Steel Series Siberia's that are very clear, but lack that lush sound and deep tight intense bass that I'm looking for. Now I'm looking to purchase a really nice set of can's that really bring it home and rock my world. I've been doing a lot of reading and checking out reviews on this site and some others, but I am having a hard time getting it narrowed down to a few solid choices.

 

So here are the details on what I'm looking for.

 

Price: 50-150 max (I realize at this range I won't be able to get the greatest set of can's, but it's all about finding the best you can get for the price your willing to pay, and I really love how amazing my Nu-force Ne6's sound like they cost WAY more than what they go for. So that is what I'm trying to find for in this price range).

 

Type: Closed ear, true circumaural full sized cans with a comfy headband and earpads

 

Style: Doesn't need to be the hippest thing out there (ie Beats or something along that line), would like them to look good and somewhat unique (ie AKG K701), but not boring and outdated (ie Sony MDR-7506).

 

Sound: Looking for something that is very balanced, clean, and also has exceptionally clear punchy lush bass. I also if possible would like them to have good soundstage, have great sub bass, and have good transient response and snap. I know that open ear can's do some of this stuff better, but I'm just looking for the best I can get in a closed ear. I listen to mostly drum and bass, hard rock/metal, some hip hop, and occasionally jazz and classical. The main purpose of these can's though is to be able to have my beloved drum and bass seem HUGE and rolling and very clean deep bass that is almost surreal but not at the expense of completely over powering the rest of the spectrum. The only expensive decent full sized can's I've had the chance to listen to at a store are the Dre Beats which everyone seems to love to hate so much. I do like how loud and deep the bass is on those, but like most people have already mentioned, it seems like it's fake bass, somewhat muddled, and way too overpowering compared to the rest of the sound. But having said that, I do enjoy how much bass they deliver, just not how they do it. I want a very lush, intense, deep, clear low end with these can's that I'll be purchasing, along with a nice clean clear balanced frequency spectrum. I HATE really harsh high end treble by the way.

 

Other: I will not be using an amp to power these, eq'ng, or doing any mods or changing of the cables or anything along those lines. Just played through my ipod, iBook, or home stereo receiver.

 

Current "ideas" for choices: As far as I can tell the ATH M50's are the "gold" std for this price range and really clean sound with a deep full bass. I've also read about a ton of other can's that are great and all, but I can't find ones that have the sound I'm looking for and will also have enough power to be loud enough using my ipod. I've also read rave reviews about Grado S80's, ATH A700, and HD448 for can's in this price range.

 

Thank you for ideas in advance and I can't wait to make my first buy that will most likely lead me to a lifetime of never ending purchases of high end headphones.

post #2 of 14

Circumaural can with bass punch and sub bass straight out of a portable? XB500 fits the bill quite nicely

 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Sub bass is not my main concern. I am just looking for a really nice pair of can's for around 150 that have balanced sound, but also have a little extra bass. A little above and beyond what other can's in the same range provide. Like I've read that the ATH M50's are amazing overall for their price range and have excellent bass that is usually considered a little better than any other can in that range. That is what I am talking about, not Dre Beats or XB500/700 Sony's. I am familiar with these and they have TOO much bass and overwhelm the rest of the sound. But thanks for your advice.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lex View Post

Circumaural can with bass punch and sub bass straight out of a portable? XB500 fits the bill quite nicely

 

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoninJin View Post

Sub bass is not my main concern. I am just looking for a really nice pair of can's for around 150 that have balanced sound, but also have a little extra bass. A little above and beyond what other can's in the same range provide. Like I've read that the ATH M50's are amazing overall for their price range and have excellent bass that is usually considered a little better than any other can in that range. That is what I am talking about, not Dre Beats or XB500/700 Sony's. I am familiar with these and they have TOO much bass and overwhelm the rest of the sound. But thanks for your advice.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lex View Post

Circumaural can with bass punch and sub bass straight out of a portable? XB500 fits the bill quite nicely

 


 

 

Well that pretty much contradicts what you were saying about wanting "deep, tight, intense bass", but whatever, I'll ignore the condescending attitude and recommend the Ultrasone HFI-580 as a direct competitor to the M50. 

 

BUT you'll be disappointed with both of them out of an ipod. They need amping to give you that bass that you describe.

 

I suspect from your description of them that you have never heard the Sony XB series.

post #5 of 14

The M50's will be fine with your ipod, but their soundstage is just decent...

 

Regarding the XB series from Sony, they are for bassheads. beyersmile.png

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey bud, I'm not trying to be condescending at all. I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion. I was just merely stating that I have listened to those headphones and they are a just too bassy and overpowering for what I'm looking for. I guess my description of what I'm looking for might not be clear to some. I mentioned I'd like more bass than usual and good sub bass only because it seems like most audiophiles and high end cans tend to prefer a very flat frequency with a weak low end. So I was overcompensating for that tendency by saying I'd like a really good deep low end. Which I do want, but not so deep and overpowering that the low end takes away from the rest of the frequencies. I've actually purchased and returned quite a few IEM's that were supposedly great according to reviews on here, but always turned out to be pretty weak in the low end. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do like a good balanced clean sound, but with more low end than most audiophiles prefer, but having said that, I would like for that low end to be very clean, very low, and very tight and snappy.

 

I have listened to the Sony MBR XB500/700 series can's at best buy a long time ago. They are very nice, I might get a pair some day, and they provide a ton of bass. But like I said, they provide so much that it overpowers the rest of the sound and it's sometimes hard to hear the mids and highs as the bass is just SOO in your face. It has been sometime since I listened to them, so I will try and give them another listen if I can find them at a local store, but they are what I would call super bass heavy can's. I'm looking for something that has GREAT balanced sound, with a little extra oomph in the low end that is really clean, tight, snappy, and low. Also, the suggestion for the Ultrasones is appreciated, but I'm not running these with an amp, only through my ipod, so those probably won't work. So once again, not sure how you thought I was being condescending, my apologies for any misunderstanding. And thank you for your suggestion.
 

 

 

Well that pretty much contradicts what you were saying about wanting "deep, tight, intense bass", but whatever, I'll ignore the condescending attitude and recommend the Ultrasone HFI-580 as a direct competitor to the M50. 

 

BUT you'll be disappointed with both of them out of an ipod. They need amping to give you that bass that you describe.

 

I suspect from your description of them that you have never heard the Sony XB series.

post #7 of 14

Question. Why did you mention the Grado SR80? I believe they are Open, highly concentrated on Mids and lacking in Bass.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoninJin View Post

Hey bud, I'm not trying to be condescending at all. I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion. I was just merely stating that I have listened to those headphones and they are a just too bassy and overpowering for what I'm looking for. I guess my description of what I'm looking for might not be clear to some. I mentioned I'd like more bass than usual and good sub bass only because it seems like most audiophiles and high end cans tend to prefer a very flat frequency with a weak low end. So I was overcompensating for that tendency by saying I'd like a really good deep low end. Which I do want, but not so deep and overpowering that the low end takes away from the rest of the frequencies. I've actually purchased and returned quite a few IEM's that were supposedly great according to reviews on here, but always turned out to be pretty weak in the low end. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do like a good balanced clean sound, but with more low end than most audiophiles prefer, but having said that, I would like for that low end to be very clean, very low, and very tight and snappy.

 

I have listened to the Sony MBR XB500/700 series can's at best buy a long time ago. They are very nice, I might get a pair some day, and they provide a ton of bass. But like I said, they provide so much that it overpowers the rest of the sound and it's sometimes hard to hear the mids and highs as the bass is just SOO in your face. It has been sometime since I listened to them, so I will try and give them another listen if I can find them at a local store, but they are what I would call super bass heavy can's. I'm looking for something that has GREAT balanced sound, with a little extra oomph in the low end that is really clean, tight, snappy, and low. Also, the suggestion for the Ultrasones is appreciated, but I'm not running these with an amp, only through my ipod, so those probably won't work. So once again, not sure how you thought I was being condescending, my apologies for any misunderstanding. And thank you for your suggestion.
 

 

 

Well that pretty much contradicts what you were saying about wanting "deep, tight, intense bass", but whatever, I'll ignore the condescending attitude and recommend the Ultrasone HFI-580 as a direct competitor to the M50. 

 

BUT you'll be disappointed with both of them out of an ipod. They need amping to give you that bass that you describe.

 

I suspect from your description of them that you have never heard the Sony XB series.


It was the reference to Beats by Dre that made it condescension, it didn't need to be in there man. Nobody here was going to recommend Monster products to you.  No matter, moving on.

 

I think you are maybe looking for a little too much from a full-sized can out of a portable, to be honest. Thus the suggestion for a can with a bass-emphasized driver. An IEM will do what you ask but there really are very few choices for full sized cans that will give you great balanced sound and deep snappy bass (the signs of a well amped headphone). Under amping will likely give you some of the sound quality but a lot less impact. If you can live with something that sounds great from your receiver, pretty good from your mac and ok from your ipod then one pair such as the M50 will probably do you. 

 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

I know they are open ear, but they are one of only a few can's I have heard (read about) of before that I know have very good quality and sound incredible. From most reviews I've read here and on other websites, the Grado SR80's are supposed to be one of the greatest can's at or under 150 with amazing soundstage, amazing detail, and some people say TOO much bass. So your comment saying they are lacking in bass is an opinion of yours not shared by all. Everyone has their own opinion on things, but the Grado SR80's are amazing headphones no doubt about it. Every review I've ever read says they are fantastic and rival much more expensive can's, so I'm including them as a reference point. And even though they are open ear, I only mentioned them because I have no idea other than the ATH M50's for a closed ear headphone that does not need amplification to sound amazing. So do you have any suggestions for me, or did you just want to ask a question? I'd love suggestions. That is the point of my thread... to enlist the help of other more experienced users with helping me find some great can's under 150 that are closed ear and have sound like I described. So far I'm not getting many suggestions at all that fit the bill. So if you've got some, please let me.

 

Thanks
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakokirby View Post

Question. Why did you mention the Grado SR80? I believe they are Open, highly concentrated on Mids and lacking in Bass.

post #10 of 14

The problem is:  Price (under $150), fullsized circumaural closed headphones, suitable for portable use (amp wise I assume, rather than the practicality of walking around looking like a cyberman), that sound like Grados and look like beats or K701, something stylish.

 

Cyberman3.jpg

 

And you're not getting many suggestions?  It is because that isn't an easy ask.  There really isn't too many closed Grados to begin with.  Are there any?

 

Dependant on where you live (price) all I can think of:

 

ATH-A700

ATH-M50 (already been suggested)

Ultrasone HiFi 450

SRH 440

 

Keep in mind that portable closed will generally = supra-aural


Edited by Kernmac - 12/7/10 at 4:36pm
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response, all I'm looking for is useful information and you just gave me some. I am new to this forum, and full size headphones in general, so I obviously don't know that something like what I'm asking for doesn't exist. That is why I'm on this forum asking for help. If I knew that it existed or did not exist, than I wouldn't even be here asking experts like yourself for some helpful information. So thank you.

 

So now that I know that closed ear circum aural, decent looking, awesome sounding headphones don't really exist (or there are only a few) I guess my next question is what IS out there that sounds great, that doesn't need amplification, and that is closed ear (looks are at the bottom of my check list)? Also, I'm actually not very concerned about them being portable. I will sometimes be using them on the go, but it won't be in situations where I need to have portability. Like for example, in a long car ride, plane ride, on my laptop or receiver at home, etc. Not for running, working out, walking about town, etc. I don't care if they are big and clunky and cumbersome. So I don't know if that info helps, but I thought I would mention it. So anymore suggestions for a closed ear cirum aural and supra aural knowing that I don't care if it's portable or looks good?

 

And Lex, just to help shed some more light on what I'm looking for, I did have a chance to swing by the local Best Buy after work today and hook my ipod up to the Sony MBR XB700's. And they sound exactly as I remember them: TONS of bass, pretty clean sound, nice and comfy. But the bass is just overpowering for most types of music. I would probably get these to ONLY listen to drum and bass or bass heavy music as rock, jazz, and classical just are killed by the bass with these. But overall, they are nice, and I might get some as my "drum and bass" can's. Looking for something with less overpowering bass.

 

Thanks

 

Love this picture by the way... made me laugh my ass off!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kernmac View Post

The problem is:  Price (under $150), fullsized circumaural closed headphones, suitable for portable use (amp wise I assume, rather than the practicality of walking around looking like a cyberman), that sound like Grados and look like beats or K701, something stylish.

 

Cyberman3.jpg

 

And you're not getting many suggestions?  It is because that isn't an easy ask.  There really isn't too many closed Grados to begin with.  Are there any?

 

Dependant on where you live (price) all I can think of:

 

ATH-A700

ATH-M50 (already been suggested)

Ultrasone HiFi 450

SRH 440

 

Keep in mind that portable closed will generally = supra-aural

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoninJin View Post

And Lex, just to help shed some more light on what I'm looking for, I did have a chance to swing by the local Best Buy after work today and hook my ipod up to the Sony MBR XB700's. And they sound exactly as I remember them: TONS of bass, pretty clean sound, nice and comfy. But the bass is just overpowering for most types of music. I would probably get these to ONLY listen to drum and bass or bass heavy music as rock, jazz, and classical just are killed by the bass with these. But overall, they are nice, and I might get some as my "drum and bass" can's. Looking for something with less overpowering bass.

 

 

That's great but I didn't recommend the XB700 (which also needs amping to get the most out of the bottom end btw). FWIW, what were the XB700 plugged into?

 

If you're looking for a Grado sound in a closed can you really should have a listen to a pair of Ultrasones.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Aren't the XB500 and XB700 both similar can's, with the 700's being slightly better? The 700's didn't seem to need any amplification imho, they were plenty loud and extreme. The bass was insane and like I said, I might pick up a used pair someday for solely listening to Ed Rush and Optical type stuff. I'm not sure what they were hooked up to, the cord was just coming out from a desk hidden and couldn't see the source. It was just playing some random crap demo music. But I pulled up the cord a bit and it was connected with a 3.5mm to 1/4 adapter, so I unplugged it and hooked up my iphone to it so I could try it out with a range of my music. It was just like I remembered: TONS of bass, and huge sound. Has a big WOW factor, but would probably get old after awhile. It's just too much bass for normal music and not as clear and beautiful as I would like, but great for what they are made for. Also, the earholes were pretty small and I could see that being an issue for long listening sessions. I think I might look into some Grado's or another can that doesn't have quite as much low end for my normal music, and then pick up a pair of used M50's or XB700's for music that has tons of low end. I keep reading more and more that the M50's have just about the same amount of low end as the XB700's, but that they are just overall better with clearer tighter bass, better mids and highs, slightly better sub bass, and slightly better soundstage. If that is the case, then even the M50's would have slightly too much bass for what I'm looking for. We'll see, after a little more research and discussion here, I think I'm just going to go for one and if I don't like it, return it or sell them on here.

 

And thanks for the Ultrasone tip, although I doubt there are any stores that carry those around here or have them out to listen to. I've also read a few reviews on Ultrasone and almost everyone says they have a very sharp metallic sound to them, that can be quite annoying? Not sure since I have never had any, but have you experienced that? I'm going to do some more research here on Ultrasones, and maybe some supra aural Grado's as those keep coming up as the best can under 150. Thanks again
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lex View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by RoninJin View Post

And Lex, just to help shed some more light on what I'm looking for, I did have a chance to swing by the local Best Buy after work today and hook my ipod up to the Sony MBR XB700's. And they sound exactly as I remember them: TONS of bass, pretty clean sound, nice and comfy. But the bass is just overpowering for most types of music. I would probably get these to ONLY listen to drum and bass or bass heavy music as rock, jazz, and classical just are killed by the bass with these. But overall, they are nice, and I might get some as my "drum and bass" can's. Looking for something with less overpowering bass.

 

 

That's great but I didn't recommend the XB700 (which also needs amping to get the most out of the bottom end btw). FWIW, what were the XB700 plugged into?

 

If you're looking for a Grado sound in a closed can you really should have a listen to a pair of Ultrasones.

post #14 of 14

Sennheiser HD448/HD438

Sennheiser HD205II DJ

 

Also some of the Sub-$200 Denon Models are known too have good bass

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